Green screen or chroma key is an editing technique that involves adding a virtual layer to a video. It’s often used in movies, weather newscasting, video conference calls, and more. It’s popular because of its flexibility, allowing you to add or create any setting in a controlled environment. It can be mind-blowing what you can create using green screens so let’s look at a few essential tips to achieve great results.
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Keep the subject as far from the green screen as possible
It can be tempting to place your subject, be it a person or object, right in front of a green screen. However, video experts strongly advise against that. The green luminance of the screen has a tendency to reflect back when the subject is too near. What happens is that the virtual layer you add may spill over those areas, making some parts of your subject or object disappear where they shouldn’t.
It’s also important to avoid subjects that might mirror or reflect the green screen behind them. For human subjects, avoid clothing with shiny or reflective patterns or designs. It would be a good idea for them not to wear eyeglasses as they may also reflect the green color.
Light the green screen evenly
It’s important that the green screen is lit evenly, be it a wall, board, or curtain. The goal is to make the green color uniform. If some parts are dimmer or covered by shadows, the virtual layer you add will look uneven too. Instead of relying on a single light source, put at least two light sources from either side of the screen. Make sure that they’re directed to the screen at the same angle and positioned from it at the same distance.
Keep the green screen flat and wrinkle-free
If you’re using a wall or board for your green screen, make sure that it’s flat and smooth. Any bump or section that’s sticking out may either cast a shadow or cause an inconsistent green color that’ll affect the way the virtual layer looks.
If you’re using a curtain, smooth it out and remove folds or creases and make sure it won’t move while recording. If it’s very wrinkled, iron it first. If there’s wind where you’re shooting, use string clip holders or attach weights at the bottom to hold the sheet down if necessary.
Match the lighting of the set to the virtual scene
The goal always is to make the entire scene realistic. And one way to do that’s to make sure that the way the subject is lit is consistent with the lighting in the virtual background. Let’s say the background shows a bright and summery day. Make sure that the subject is shown with warm summer sunshine on them as well.
Avoid subjects in bright green color
Whether your subject is a person or an object, avoid bright green at all costs. This is a common mistake among newscasters. When their clothing or part of it is green, the tendency is that the virtual layer also covers that.
The goal is to separate the subject from the background so none of their colors should match or blend. However, if you can’t avoid the green color on your subject, like plants or trees, consider using a blue screen instead.
Use a reliable green screen video editor
Once you have shot your subject and green screen together, you need an effective green screen video editor to apply your virtual layer. Choose your virtual background and add it to your video. Edit the entire thing to achieve clean and impressive results. After adding your background, you can then proceed with adding other essential elements, such as music, captions, and more.
The impact of green screen
It’s no secret that chroma keying has made a huge impact in the world of videos. It can be a challenge to create a seamless and realistic effect but these tips should help you get it all figured out. Green screens help films, video conference calls, and even short ads look like they were shot in a specific location without having to travel and shoot in the actual location. You can even get more creative by adding surreal backgrounds that’ll impress your viewers. The possibilities are endless with green screens.